This series consists of talks in the area of Foundations of Quantum Theory. Seminar and group meetings will alternate.
In physics, every observation is made with respect to a frame of reference. Although reference frames are usually not considered as degrees of freedom, in all practical situations it is a physical system which constitutes a reference frame. Can a quantum system be considered as a reference frame and, if so, which description would it give of the world?
There has been a dissatisfaction with the postulates of quantum mechanics essentially since the moment that those postulates were first written down. Over the years since there have therefore been many attempts (some successful and some less so) to reconstruct quantum theory from various sets of postulates. The aim being to gain a deeper understanding of the theory by providing a conceptually clear underpinning from which the standard formalism can be derived.
In order to think about the foundations of physics it is important to understand the logical relationships among the physical principles that sustain the building. As part of these axioms of physics there is the core hypothesis that, how the Universe is partitioned into systems and subsystems is a subjective choice of the observer that should not affect the predictions of physics. Other foundational principles are the Postulates of Quantum Mechanics. However, we prove that these are not independent from the “independence of subsystem partitioning” hypothesis described above.
The distillation of quantum resources such as entanglement and coherence forms one of the most fundamental protocols in quantum information and is of outstanding operational significance, but it is often characterized in the idealized asymptotic limit where an unbounded number of independent and identically distributed copies of a quantum system are available.
The methodology employed in reconstructing quantum theory involves defining a general mathematical framework that frames a landscape of possible theories and then positing principles that uniquely pick out quantum theory. In contrast, many traditional interpretations of quantum theory consider only quantum theory, not a larger space of possible theories. I will defend the modal methodology used in reconstruction by tracing the historical roots of Einstein’s distinction between principle and constructive theories.
Hidden-variables theories account for quantum mechanics in terms of a particular 'equilibrium' distribution of underlying parameters corresponding to the Born rule. A natural question to ask is whether the theory is stable under small perturbations away from equilibrium. We compare and contrast two examples: de Broglie's 1927 pilot-wave theory and Bohm's 1952 reformulation thereof. It is well established that in de Broglie's dynamics initial deviations from equilibrium will relax.
In this talk I show how to systematically classify all possible alternatives to the measurement postulates of quantum theory. All alternative measurement postulates are in correspondence with a representation of the unitary group. I will discuss composite systems in these alternative theories and show that they violate two operational properties: purification and local tomography. This shows that one can derive the measurement postulates of quantum theory from either of these properties. I will discuss the relevance of this result to the field of general probabilistic theories.
In this talk I will discuss recently-identified classes of quantum correlations that go beyond nonlocal classical hidden-variable models equipped with communication. First, in the bipartite scenario, I will focus on so-called instrumental causal networks, which are a primal tool in causal inference. There, I will show that it is possible to “fake” classical causal influences with quantum common causes, in a formal sense quantified by the average causal effect (ACE).
We will discuss recent trapping and cooling experiments with optically levitated nanoparticles [1]. We will report on the cooling of all translational motional degrees of freedom of a single trapped silica particle to 1mK simultaneously at vacuum of 10^{-5} mbar using a parabolic mirror. We will further report on the squeezing of a thermal motional state of the trapped particle by rapid switching of the trap frequency [2].
We discuss the role of contextuality within quantum fluctuation theorems, in the light of a recent no-go result by Perarnau et al. We show that any fluctuation theorem reproducing the two-point measurement scheme for classical states either admits a notion of work quasi-probability or fails to describe protocols exhibiting contextuality.